PRSA Portland Metro Chapter

The lifelong value of APR: APR Maintenance


Jan 16


By Erin Merz, M.A., APR, 2016 Chief Operations Officer/Secretary, PRSA Portland

I consider myself a lifelong learner, both personally and professionally. Most learning experiences aren’t signified by a credential like a degree or certificate. They manifest through new information, new circumstances, opportunity, reflection, revelation, relationships and interpersonal communication.

Accredited in Public Relations (APR) is a marriage of both –- it’s a credential that proves knowledge, skills and abilities, and also requires ongoing, active participation in the public relations field outside of one’s normal job responsibilities.

The year I spent preparing to pass APR requirements was just the beginning of what it means to be an accredited public relations professional. This month marks a new milestone as I complete and submit my first Maintenance of Accreditation Application, required every three years to demonstrate commitment to the sound and ethical practice of public relations.

For me, the maintenance application is an exercise of reflection, gratitude and satisfaction. It’s a small way to quantify personal and professional development over the last three years, including:

  • Maintaining an active PRSA membership
  • Serving in various volunteer capacities with PRSA Portland
  • Attending seminars, conferences and workshops
  • Pro-bono service
  • Published work in a trade association quarterly journal

Today I’m reminded that my APR designation adds value to my life in ways that my high school diploma, Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts do not. It necessitates new learning experiences that foster continuous growth and improvement.

Erin Merz, APR, oversees content marketing for Portland State University Campus Recreation. She’s been a member and volunteer of PRSA Portland since 2013 and was the 2015 chair of the Content Strategy Committee. Tweet her at @ErinMerz.


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